IgE antibodies play a protective role against parasites and environmental toxins by its strong effector functions. However, aberrant IgE production can contribute to the development of allergic disorders, and thus is tightly regulated. Beside its very short half-life, IgE is normally produced only transiently and its affinity maturation is limited under physiological immune responses. Although such distinct characteristics of IgE among Ig classes are well-known, the underlying molecular mechanisms have not been understood until recently. Somatic or genetic defects of such mechanisms can lead to pathogenesis of allergic diseases. In this review, we summarize recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms that control the production of IgE and formation of IgE-type humoral memory, focusing on the B cell immune responses.
Intractable chronic inflammatory diseases, including autoimmune diseases, autoinflammatory diseases and allergic diseases, are caused by disruption or failure of the immune system. Pathogenic immune cells are presumed to be closely related to the pathogenesis of intractable diseases, but the precise cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of these diseases remain unclear. The balance between the T helper type 1 (Th1) and Th2 cell fractions has been believed to be responsible for the differences among inflammatory diseases. However, an analysis of the cells infiltrating inflammatory lesions in mice and humans revealed the generation of pathogenic Th cells with different characteristics at the memory T-cell stage in the peripheral tissues in various inflammatory diseases. In this review, we will summarize and discuss recent progress regarding the characteristics of pathogenic Th cells, their mode of action, and the molecular mechanisms that regulate the pathology of intractable chronic inflammatory diseases, particularly those with tissue fibrosis. We hope this article will help clarify the pathogenesis of these diseases and propose a future direction for research.
Group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) reside in peripheral tissues such as the lungs, skin, nasal cavity, and gut and provoke innate type 2 immunity against allergen exposure, parasitic worm infection, and respiratory virus infection by producing TH2 cytokines. Recent advances in understanding ILC2 biology revealed that ILC2s can be trained by IL-33 or allergic inflammation, are long-lived, and mount memory-like type 2 immune responses to any other allergens afterwards. In contrast, IL-33, together with retinoic acid, induces IL-10-producing immunosuppressive ILC2s. In this review, we discuss how the allergic cytokine milieu and other immune cells direct the generation of trained ILC2s with immunostimulatory or immunosuppressive recall capability in allergic diseases and infections associated with type 2 immunity. The molecular mechanisms of trained immunity by ILCs and the physiological relevance of trained ILC2s are also discussed.
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has recently been recognised as the third important gas-signalling molecule, besides nitric oxide and carbon monoxide. H2S has been reported to be produced by many cell types in mammalian tissues and organs throughout the actions of H2S-generating enzymes or redox reactions between the oxidation of glucose and element of sulfur. Although the pathological role of H2S has not yet been fully elucidated, accumulative data suggest that H2S may have biphasic effects. Briefly, it mainly has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant roles, although it can also have pro-inflammatory effects under certain conditions where rapid release of H2S in tissues occur, such as sepsis. To date, there have been several clinical studies published on H2S in respiratory disorders, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). According to previous studies, H2S is detectable in serum, sputum, and exhaled breath, although a gold standard method for detection has not yet been established. In asthma and COPD, H2S levels in serum and sputum can vary depending on the underlying conditions such as an acute exacerbation. Furthermore, sputum H2S in particular correlates with sputum neutrophils and the degree of airflow limitation, indicating that H2S has potential as a novel promising biomarker for neutrophilic airway inflammation for predicting current control state as well as future risks of asthma. In the future, concurrent measures of H2S with conventional inflammatory biomarkers (fractional exhaled nitric oxide, eosinophils etc) may provide more useful information regarding the identification of inflammatory phenotypes of asthma and COPD for personalised treatment.
Zinc is an essential micronutrient in human body and a vital cofactor for the function of numerous proteins encoded by the human genome. Zinc has a critical role in maintaining many biochemical and physiological processes at the molecular, cellular, and multiple organ and systemic levels. The alteration of zinc homeostasis causes dysfunction of many organs and systems.
In the immune system, zinc regulates the differentiation, proliferation and function of inflammatory cells, including T cells, eosinophils, and B cells, by modifying several signaling pathways such as NFκB signaling pathways and TCR signals. An adequate zinc level is essential for proper immune responses and decreased zinc levels were reported in many allergic inflammatory diseases, including atopic dermatitis, bronchial asthma, and chronic rhinosinusitis. Decreased zinc levels often enhance inflammatory activation. On the other hand, the inflammatory conditions alter the intracellular homeostasis of zinc, often decreasing zinc levels. These findings implied that there could be a vicious cycle between zinc deficiency and inflammatory conditions.
In this review, we present recent evidence on the involvement of zinc in atopic dermatitis, bronchial asthma, and chronic rhinosinusitis, with insights into the involvement of zinc in the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms related to these allergic inflammatory diseases.
Background: Obesity is a risk factor for severe and difficult-to-treat asthma. However, the impact of different physiques on long-term outcomes is poorly understood. We aimed to investigate the correlation between obesity and asthma-associated long-term mortality in Japanese adults.
Methods: From the data on 3146 individuals with air pollution-related respiratory diseases in the Omuta City Air Pollution-Related Health Damage Cohort Program, 697 adult patients with asthma were analyzed. Hazard ratios for long-term all-cause and respiratory disease -related mortality were compared in patients with different physiques using the Cox proportional hazard models. The classification of physiques was based on the WHO obesity criteria.
Results: Of the 697 patients, 439 died during the median observation period of 26.3 years. The number (% of total) of underweight, normal-weight, pre-obese, and obese class I–III individuals were 75 (10.8%), 459 (65.9%), 140 (20.1%), and 23 (3.3%), respectively. The Cox proportional hazard model (adjusted hazard ratio [95% confidence interval], P value) showed that pre-obese group had a significantly reduced risk for all-cause (0.65 [0.51 to 0.83], P < 0.05) and respiratory disease (0.55 [0.37 to 0.81], P < 0.05)-related mortality related to normal-weight group.
Conclusions: Our cohort program demonstrated that being slightly overweight may reduce the risk of long-term mortality in patients with asthma. However, the influence of obesity on long-term outcomes remains unclear in asthma, because of the small number of obese patients included in our study. Our findings suggest that interventions, including nutrition and exercises, should be provided to Japanese patients with asthma.
Background: Bird antigens are some of the most relevant antigens in hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP). Possible sources of bird antigens are bird breeding, feather products and fertilizer with fowl droppings. For the screening and diagnosis of HP, the measurement of bird-specific antibodies should be standardized. The aim of this study was to clarify the utility of serum IgG (sIgG) and IgA (sIgA) antibodies to bird antigens in screening and diagnosing acute/chronic bird-related HP with ImmunoCAP® in multi-centre clinical research.
Methods: We executed a clinical performance test by conducting a multi-institutional study to measure the levels of sIgG/sIgA against pigeon, parrot and budgerigar antigens by the ImmunoCAP® system in 29 acute and 46 chronic bird-related HP patients.
Results: The levels of sIgG/sIgA against the bird antigens of the three species were significantly higher in subjects with acute bird-related HP and chronic bird-related HP with acute episodes (recurrent type) than in the control subjects. For sIgG, the optimal cutoff values by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis were 24.6 mgA/L for pigeon, 14.0 mgA/L for parrot, and 8.7 mgA/L for budgerigar. By measuring multiple bird antigens and combining sIgG values of two species, the sensitivity and specificity for acute and recurrent-type chronic bird-related HP patients were 85–91% and 73–80%, respectively. For recurrent and insidious types of chronic bird-related HP, the sensitivity and specificity were 48–61% and 73–80%, respectively.
Conclusions: Measurement of the levels of sIgG/sIgA against pigeon, budgerigar and parrot antigens by ImmunoCAP® was useful for screening and diagnosis in bird-related HP.
Background: Some patients with wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA) or wheat allergy showed negative ω-5 gliadin-specific IgE test and high level of grass pollen-specific IgE. It was presumed that these patients developed allergic reaction upon cross-reaction of their IgE antibodies raised against grass pollen allergens to wheat allergens. This study aimed to clarify clinical characteristics and wheat allergens of this phenotype of WDEIA/wheat allergy, which were tentatively diagnosed as grass pollen-related wheat allergy (GPWA).
Methods: A total of six patients with GPWA were enrolled, and controls were 17 patients with grass pollen allergy but no episode of wheat allergy, and 29 patients with other wheat allergies: 18 with conventional WDEIA and 11 with hydrolyzed wheat protein allergy. Sensitization to wheat proteins was determined by basophil activation test (BAT). IgE-binding proteins in wheat flour were identified by immunoblotting followed by mass spectrometry. Wheat allergen-specific IgE tests were established by CAP-FEIA system.
Results: All the six patients with GPWA were sensitized to water-soluble wheat proteins in BAT and IgE-immunoblotting, and peroxidase-1 (35 kDa) and beta-glucosidase (60 kDa) were identified as specific IgE-binding wheat proteins. The binding of patient IgE to these proteins was inhibited by pre-incubation of patient sera with grass pollen. The peroxidase-1- and beta-glucosidase-specific IgE tests identified three and four of six patients with GPWA, respectively, but only two of 29 controls, indicating high specificity of these tests.
Conclusions: Peroxidase-1 and beta-glucosidase are specific wheat allergens for GPWA among grass pollen allergy and other types of wheat-induced food allergies.
Background: This study was aimed at evaluating the efficacy and safety of oral immunotherapy (OIT) in children with severe cow's milk allergy.
Methods: The subjects comprised 28 children (aged 3–12 years) with allergic symptoms that were induced by ≤ 10 mL of cow's milk in an oral food challenge test (OFC). The subjects were randomly allocated to the treatment group (n = 14) and control group (n = 14); the former received rush immunotherapy for 2 weeks, followed by a gradual increase of cow's milk volume to 100 mL for 1 year, and the latter completely eliminated cow's milk for 1 year. Both groups underwent an OFC with 100 mL of cow's milk after 1 year.
Results: The treatment group had significantly higher rates of a negative OFC [7/14 (50%) vs. 0/14 (0%), p < 0.01] compared with the control group. The cow's milk-specific IgE level significantly decreased in the treatment group (p < 0.01) but not in the control group (p = 0.63). During the study period, adrenaline was required in 6/14 patients (43%) of the treatment group and in 0/14 patients (0%) of the control group. Long follow-up data were available at the 2-year point after the study for 8 in the treatment group and 7 (87.5%) of these continued to ingest milk (>100 mL).
Conclusions: The effect of immunotherapy was 50%, but the incidence of adverse events was not low. Further studies focusing on safety is necessary to standardize OIT for cow's milk allergy.
Background: Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) are rare but life-threatening disorders characterized by widespread epidermal necrosis of the skin and mucosa. The severity-of-illness scoring system for TEN (SCORTEN) was widely used since 2000 as a standard prognostic tool consisting of seven clinical values.
Methods: To evaluate the prognosis using current treatments and risk factors for mortality, we retrospectively analyzed 59 cases of TEN, including SJS/TEN overlap treated in two university hospitals from January 2000 to March 2020.
Results: The mortality rate of TEN was 13.6% (8/59). All patients treated with high-dose steroid administration in combination with plasma exchange and/or immunoglobulin therapy recovered. Logistic regression analysis showed nine clinical composite scores, namely: heart rate (≧120 bpm), malignancy present, percentage of body surface area with epidermal detachment (>10%), blood urea nitrogen (>28 mg/dL), serum bicarbonate level (<20 mEq/L), serum glucose level (>252 mg/dL), age (≧71 years), the interval between disease onset and treatment initiation at the specialty hospital (≧8 days), and respiratory disorder within 48 h after admission. The receiver operating characteristic curves confirmed a high potential for predicting the prognosis of TEN.
Conclusions: Recent developments in treatment strategies have contributed to the improved prognosis of TEN patients. A modified severity scoring model composed of nine scores may be helpful in the prediction of TEN prognosis in recent patients. Further large-scale studies are needed to confirm mortality findings to improve prognostication in patients with TEN.
Background: The rate at which patients are accurately diagnosed with hereditary angioedema (HAE), as well as diagnosed patients access to modern treatments differs greatly among countries. Moreover, the severity and burden of HAE on patients have been reported mostly on the basis of physician-reported surveys. To gain insight into the real-world conditions of patients with HAE through a patient-reported survey in Japan and identify any unmet needs.
Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to 121 patients with HAE via a Japanese HAE patient organization during 2016–2017. Responses were collected from 70 patients (57.9%) and subjected to analysis.
Results: The average periods from the initial appearance of symptoms (e.g. edema) to a HAE diagnosis was 15.6 years (min–max, 0–53). Patients visited an average of 4.6 different departments until receiving a definitive diagnosis. The average age at the first visit was 25.6 years (3–73) and at diagnosis 32.8 years (0–73). Patients reported an average of 15.7 (0–100) attacks per year, but only 53.1% of attacks were treated. The days of hospitalization due to severe attacks was 14.3 (0–200) before diagnosis, but these declined to 4.3 (0–50) after diagnosis. In the treatment for attacks, 82% of the patients were treated with the plasma-derived C1 inhibitor concentrate, and 69% of the patients reported experiencing a therapeutic effect.
Conclusions: There is a long gap between first attack and diagnosis of HAE, and the number of non-treated attacks is high in Japan. Steps are needed to improve the diagnostic and treatment environments to address these issues.
Background: Many patients report questionable drug hypersensitivity reactions (DHR) to betalactam antibiotics. A workup is required for objectivation. Direct drug provocation tests (DPTs) omitting a prior allergy workup are increasingly recommended as the primary diagnostic approach. However, apart from the risk of severe side effects, DPTs often are a scarce resource in overloaded healthcare-systems. We investigated how many cases can be solved by drug-specific history, drug-specific IgE, and skin tests obviating the need for DPT.
Methods: We conducted a chart review in a retrospective cohort of 932 patients in an allergy outpatient centre from 2016 to 2017. Patients had been submitted to drug-specific history and specific IgE-, skin prick-, intradermal- and patch-tests with early and late readings with a series of penicillins and cephalosporins but DPTs were no option.
Results: Overall, positive in vitro and/or skin tests were found in 96/932 (10.3%) patients. Drug-specific IgE was detected in 40/932 (4.3%) patients, 61/787 (7.8%) patients had positive skin tests. In vitro tests to Pencillin V showed the highest rate of positivity 24/479 (5.0%) and early readings of ampicillin the highest amongst the skin tests (3/49, 6.1%). Immediate skin tests were more often positive than delayed ones (75:45). The combination of all parameters including drug-specific history solved 346/932 (37.1%) cases while 586/932 (62.9%) remained unresolved. Self-reported DHR could be less often confirmed in females and young children (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: Testing with betalactams applying simple, cheap, and safe skin and blood tests can solve a third of DHR-cases on a high throughput scale.